I Still Believe In Free Speech As A Victim Of Hate Speech

I Still Believe In Free Speech As A Victim Of Hate Speech

Freedom of speech matters more than my fear.
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After the Neo-Nazi and white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, a lot of my friends took to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr to express their outrage. Outrage is gratifying to express, if not all that helpful – my article last week discussed ways in which the response to Charlottesville has been lacking, and why that’s frightening and alienating to some of the people most affected by it. Setting that aside, the main responses to the events have been guides on how to successfully punch your local Nazi and why we should make an exception to the First Amendment when it comes to hate speech.

Our free speech laws are pretty clear.

According to the American Bar Association, while the First Amendment doesn’t prohibit speech that a listener might find hurtful, wrong, or offensive, it does prohibit “fighting words” — that is, statements that could reasonably provoke an individual to react violently, such as racial or ethnic slurs.

“Fighting words” are one thing. Hate speech is another.

In the past, the Supreme Court has struck down state laws prohibiting hate speech, as legislating the intention behind someone’s words is prohibited under the First Amendment. In the United States, only the action is punishable, not the specific intent behind it.

Most of the people I know find this utterly reprehensible. They believe that by expressing views they see as racist, offensive, and violent, the marchers in Charlottesville and white supremacists across the country are forfeiting their right to free speech. They would like to see hate speech outlawed and punishable by prison time, or better yet, they’d like hate speech to be a community matter, one that can be dealt with by finding a local Trump supporter and beating them with a baseball bat – and facing no legal repercussions for their actions.

That’s not what I want.

That may come as a surprise to some people, since I’m Jewish, and Jewish people were among the principal targets of the Charlottesville marchers. I’d love it if there were a way to silence Nazis without undermining the First Amendment.

But there isn’t. Because whatever limits we place on free speech can be used against us.

Right now, the cultural conversation is shifting leftwards, toward tolerance and away from the right wing. But history is a pendulum, and should the pendulum swing back toward the right, the same limits we’ve placed on free speech can be levied against us. One of the first actions a fascist society takes is limiting free speech. When Hitler came to power in Germany, Joseph Goebbels, his Minister of Propaganda, informed the press that in order to continue to write, they had to be members of his press organization, and that any articles critical of the Third Reich would be considered acts of treason. Not only did the Third Reich enforce these rules on the press, they enforced them on individual citizens, by encouraging individuals to inform on their neighbors and often to take matters into their own hands.

I’m Jewish, and I’m against the types of hate speech legislation that most leftists I know are eagerly espousing. It may seem attractive in the short term, but in the long term, it’s more damaging to our society than a few hundred Neo-Nazis marching in Virginia. In my view of things, ant-Semitism and racial hatred have been around for thousands of years.

Let them talk.

I’d rather know exactly who I’m dealing with.

Cover Image Credit: Newtown graffiti / Flickr

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6 Things You Should Know About The Woman Who Can't Stand Modern Feminism

Yes, she wants to be heard too.

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2018 is sort of a trap for this woman. She believes in women with all of the fire inside of her, but it is hard for her to offer support when people are making fools of themselves and disguising it as feminism.

The fact of the matter is that women possess qualities that men don't and men possess qualities that women don't. That is natural. Plus, no one sees men parading the streets in penis costumes complaining that they don't get to carry their own fetus for nine months.

1. She really loves and values women.

She is incredibly proud to be a woman.

She knows the amount of power than a woman's presence alone can hold. She sees when a woman walks into a room and makes the whole place light up. She begs that you won't make her feel like a "lady hater" because she doesn't want to follow a trend that she doesn't agree with.

2. She wants equality, too

She has seen the fundamental issues in the corporate world, where women and men are not receiving equal pay.

She doesn't cheer on the businesses that don't see women and men as equivalents. But she does recognize that if she works her butt off, she can be as successful as she wants to.

3. She wears a bra.

While she knows the "I don't have to wear a bra for society" trend isn't a new one, but she doesn't quite get it. Like maybe she wants to wear a bra because it makes her feel better. Maybe she wears a bra because it is the normal things to do... And that's OK.

Maybe she wants to put wear a lacy bra and pretty makeup to feel girly on .a date night. She is confused by the women who claim to be "fighting for women," because sometimes they make her feel bad for expressing her ladyhood in a different way than them.

4. She hates creeps just as much as you do. .

Just because she isn't a feminist does not mean that she is cool with the gruesome reality that 1 in 5 women are sexually abused.

In fact, this makes her stomach turn inside out to think about. She knows and loves people who have been through such a tragedy and wants to put the terrible, creepy, sexually charged criminals behind bars just as bad as the next woman.

Remember that just because she isn't a feminist doesn't mean she thinks awful men can do whatever they want.

5. There is a reason she is ashamed of 2018's version of feminism.

She looks at women in history who have made a difference and is miserably blown away by modern feminism's performance.

Not only have women in the past won themselves the right to vote, but also the right to buy birth control and have credit cards in their names and EVEN saw marital rape become a criminal offense.

None of them dressed in vagina costumes to win anyone over though... Crazy, right?

6. She isn't going to dress in a lady parts costume to prove a point.

This leaves her speechless. It is like the women around her have absolutely lost their minds and their agendas, only lessening their own credibility.

"Mom, what are those ladies on TV dressed up as?"

"Ummm... it looks to me like they are pink taco's honey."

She loves who she is and she cherished what makes her different from the men around her. She doesn't want to compromise who she is as a woman just so she can be "equal with men."

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The Unlikely Heroes Battling California Wildfires Are Prison Inmates

Inmate labor is keeping the state from burning away completely.

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The devastating Camp Fire that has ravaged the town of Paradise, California has earned the title of the deadliest wildfire in California's history. As the Camp Fire is rapidly devouring surrounding lands, other wildfires are quickly developing as flames are spread by strong wind gusts. The multitude of fires occurring within the state leaves it literally burning away from both ends. With more than 46 lives lost in the flames and 216 missing, California's fate lies in the hands of state firefighters and an unlikely ally: inmates.

California has had a history of using inmate labor to battle wildfires that dates to the 1940s. Although inmates must volunteer to participate in the efforts to tame wildfires, controversy has surrounded the practice and its ethics. State firefighters today make between $11 and $64 an hour, while inmate pay can range from 8 cents to $1 an hour if they are trained, and $2 a day if they are not. Inmates and firefighters can spend upwards of 72 hours, on average, volunteering to risk their lives to battle fires. Inmate labor has saved the state more than $90 million a year, and the practice does not seem to be slowing down as California continues to be ravaged by fire more frequently.

California's inmate firefighters have sparked a hot debate over prison labor and its connotations in the modern world. Prisons are known to be a coercive environment; therefore, people are skeptical if inmates truly volunteered or if they were compelled by the state. After all, inmate firefighters make up a third of all firefighting personnel in California. Without them, it's simple to say that firefighters would not stand a chance against the current inferno that is consuming the state.

Despite the 30% progress made in controlling the multiple wildfires, the smoke pollution from the fires in California has traveled across the U.S. and reached Chicago; we can only imagine the sheer magnitude of damage if we didn't have brave men, women, and even juvenile inmates contributing to California's firefighting forces.

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